Taliban should respect free, pluralistic and independent media, says Richard Bennett

On World Press Freedom Day, Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Afghanistan called on the Taliban to respect the free, pluralistic, independent, and inclusive media.

“On the World Press Freedom Day I pay tribute to Afghanistan media above all women journalists who continue to report despite deplorable restrictions and risks including to their lives. I call on Taliban to respect a free, pluralistic, independent and inclusive media as a right of all Afghans,” Bennett wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.

Ever since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August 2021, they have imposed severe limitations on the country’s previously thriving media and press.

According to NAI- Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, the imposition of severe restrictions on media and journalists by the Taliban in Afghanistan has led to a serious challenge for free media in the country.

“One of the most important achievements of the last two decades is free media activity, freedom of expression, and access to information in Afghanistan. But in the last two years, free media activity has changed to a serious challenge in Afghanistan.” NAI wrote in a statement today.

The supporting open media organization further emphasized that the free activity of media and journalists in Afghanistan should be guaranteed as a human right.

NAI added that after the political changes in Afghanistan, more than half of media outlets have been stopped due to current challenges and economic problems, and more than 65% of journalists and media workers lost their jobs. Financial challenges have caused the media sector gravely hurt.

“Currently free media activity, freedom of expression, access to information and journalists’ safety conditions are concerning, and continuing of this situation can be more vulnerable for free media activity,” NAI added.